An Afghan evacuee has been convicted of sexually abusing a three-year-old girl while being housed at Camp Upshur on Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia.
According to the Department of Justice, Mohammed Tariq, 24, sexually abused the little girl while both he and his victim were being housed at Quantico following President Joe Biden’s chaotic evacuation from Afghanistan late last summer.
U.S. Marines witnessed Tariq touching his victim “over her clothing, on her chest, genitals, and buttocks.” While the defendant is not related to the young girl, both he and her family were evacuated from Afghanistan and transported to the U.S.
“This case is indicative of law enforcement’s commitment to ensure the safety of immigrant and refugee members of our community,” said Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, in a statement. “People who come to our country seeking haven from tyranny and terrorism deserve to live here in safety. I want to thank the Marines and the FBI for their commitment to upholding that ideal. It is the resilience and courage of the victim and her family in speaking out against this offender that is truly emblematic of the contributions refugees and immigrants make to our country.”
The maximum penalty for Tariq’s crime is life in prison. He is scheduled for sentencing on April 26.
The DOJ said the case was investigated by the FBI Washington Field Office’s Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force, which is composed of FBI agents, other federal officers and detectives from northern Virginia and Washington, DC.
“This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice,” the department said. “Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.”
Last week, former President Donald Trump criticized President Joe Biden’s handling of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan during a campaign-style rally in Arizona.
Trump called the Afghanistan withdrawal “the worst and most embarrassing moment in the history of the United States.”
“When President Xi of china looks and sees what happened in Afghanistan, they don’t have fear of us anymore, they don’t have respect for us anymore,” Trump said. “And you know what, they’ve taken some of the brand new beautiful equipment that was given, like when we surrendered over there. That was a surrender.”